Decorators line walls before wallpapering

Updated May 3, 2024 | Posted Nov 2, 2018 | Professional insight, Miscellaneous

Do professional decorators line walls before applying wallpaper? We wanted to find out, so we asked tradesmen from a well-known forum to give us their insight. This is what they came back with…

Oh, we’ve also put together a list of all the best wallpapering tools on Amazon. Click here to view.

You should always line the walls before hanging paper for a few reasons. The first is your finish paper will stick to lining a lot better than it would do to bare or painted plaster. The lining paper will also expand slightly after you’ve hung the finish paper, then contract as the paste dries. This helps to stop seams from opening up. Another great reason is your lining paper will absorb any excess paste and stop it from oversoaking your finish paper.

I don’t understand why anyone would pay for a professional decorator to come in, if they’re not willing to pay for a proper job. You should always line walls before applying paper. Stop cutting corners!!

Mike Gregory

Professional Decorator

People in my area are to tight to pay for lining. It’s a shame really because as a decorator I want to do everything properly. Lining is part of the prep for me.

Olly Olson

Professional Decorator

Depends on the paper and the state of the walls. Also some tight a***s don’t want to pay for lining. I would always recommend it though.

Roy Thomas

Professional Decorator

I’ve been known to recommend double ling before now, so yes. I would never hang wallpaper on a wall unless it has been lined first. There are too many benefits of lining to try and skip it.

Jon Wood

Professional Decorator

I usually line depending on the paper I’m hanging, but if a decent plastered finish wall and a thick wallpaper then I don’t see the point.

Mark Chapman

Professional Decorator

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I’m currently going through an old lath and plaster property..

We are stripping the existing paper in all areas then prepping walls, sanding with the Mirka cross lining, then painting with emulsion.

Any imperfections in the walls after the 1st coat are getting fine filled, rubbed down, touched up then 2nd coat going on.

The walls look brand new and the client is over the moon.

I know it isn’t a wallpapering job, but it just illustrates the difference lining paper can have.

Colin Woods

Professional Decorator

I offer lining to cover my backside. If they don’t want it, then they sign a waver! That way you’re covered in case there are issues with the wallpaper further down the line.

Matt Green

Professional Decorator

I think ‘Im the only one who doesn’t give customer the option? Lining is part of the job. I wouldn’t wallpaper without lining.

Lee white

Professional Decorator

Line with everything apart from Blown Vinyl. Wallpaper is so inexpensive, it’s crazy not to in my opinion.

Gary Morris

Professional Decorator

Always line if hanging Laura Ashley, otherwise as and when required. Some of the thicker papers don’t need lining.

Paul Hollins

Professional Decorator

Always line, unless you’re a cowboy, then don’t bother. Why skip prep if you claim to be a decorator.

Paul Routledge

Professional Decorator

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Lining walls before applying wallpaper is a must for me. I always advise it to customers.

David Bennett

Professional Decorator

Not if you own a mirka or very decent sander. Just get your walls nice and smooth then you don’t need to line them.

Paul Hayes - Do decorators line walls before wallpapering?

Professional Decorator

Depends on the wallpaper and the state of the walls.

Michael Hamilton

Professional Decorator

I always crossline, aspecially with non-woven paper as it requires it for the drying process. Lining walls cuts down on problems.

Paul Halton

Professional Decorator

Hardly ever lined in 30 odd years in the trade, without any problems at all.

Derek Mcgrath

Professional Decorator

You should always line walls before applying wallpaper. I don’t get why there are decorators on here saying they don’t always recommend it. Your wallpaper seems and splices will look better if the walls are lined. There is less chance of seams opening up too. Oh, uniformed drying time is another benefit of using lining paper. The list goes on. I also like to prime with Beeline primer.

Sean Parks

Professional Decorator

There’s also a theory that paper that’s been lined on a sized wall will be easier to strip for the next decorator…

Tim Jones

Professional Decorator

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Lining the walls before you hang wallpaper is just part of your prep. If you skip it, you run the risk of problems like seams opening or paste bleeding through the joints. I never skip leg day or lining.

Mike Teal

Professional Decorator

I have never lined a wall prior to papering & never had a problem 🤔👍

Mark Barton

Professional Decorator

Woven papers benefit from lining underneath… Fact!… It’s down to whether or not you want a professional job that will limit the chance of issue’s after application.

Joe Elwick

Professional Decorator

It depends on the wall condition and the wallpaper. There is no need to line all the time. Sometimes you can just wiz over the walls with your sander to make it smooth.

Michael Nicholson

Professional Decorator

Always line. It isn’t about the wall, it’s for the paper

Michael Stanley

Professional Decorator

Wallpapering walls without lining is a bit like glossing doors without undercoating.

Colin Hamilton

Professional Decorator

There is only one right way and that is to size and then cross line.

Anthony Harrison - Do decorators line walls before wallpapering?

Professional Decorator

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One thing is for sure everybody has different ideas! 😂😂

Paul Bloom

Professional Decorator

Cross lining just makes wallpapering a whole lot easier. You’ll get a nicer finish too.

Richard Norbury

Professional Decorator

No! I only advise on lining if walls if they are very uneven or really rough.  Or if I know of paper to be of thin and bad quality.  I always ask customer first and they generally ask what I think they should do. Give my honest opinion.

Mia Watson

Professional Decorator

I always recommend lining and prefer to line things personally. However, circumstances don’t always permit it. As for those saying cowboys don’t line, I think the opposite, cowboys have to line to do a good job whereas a good decorator can do a good job without it.

Davey Hamilton

Professional Decorator

Updated May 3, 2024 | Posted Nov 2, 2018

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.

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